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Youths and women a focus for Africa 2018 Forum

The Africa 2018 Forum is set to focus on youth and women as over 250 startups will be participating in the Young Entrepreneurs Day with the objective of being connected to the investors and also being equipped with the skills to grow businesses.

This initiative follows on from the World Youth Forum held in Egypt last month. A number of measures were announced by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to support youth and entrepreneurs so that they become important economic actors.

Egypt is also expected to take over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019.

The first day’s events will feature a Young Entrepreneurs’ Day and a discussion on Women Empowering Africa.

Some of Africa’s most promising companies as well as emerging business leaders will take part in the Young Entrepreneurs Day.

“Egypt has a thriving start-up sector, and we are working full force to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation.

“The Ministry has launched number of start-up initiatives, such as Egypt Ventures, Falak Startups, and Fekretak Sherketak, which provide a comprehensive package of support encompassing funding, mentoring, business development services, and accelerator programs. The country has adopted an open-door policy whereby entrepreneurs engage in dialogue with policy makers to overcome regulatory constraints and enable them to unlock their potential for innovation and growth.”

She added, “We are globally competitive on all fronts: regulations, access to finance and, of course, a large talent pool of dynamic and vibrant youth. We are also positioning ourselves not only as an enabler in Egypt but as a regional entrepreneurship hub for Africa. ”

Heba Salama, CEO of COMESA’s Regional Investment Agency, co-organisers of the Forum mentioned that women’s empowerment is also at the heart of this year’s programme as several studies have shown how gender parity improves the quality of governance and accelerates development.

“We should not forget that we in Africa are taking a lead in many respects, with a higher representation of women in cabinets and parliaments than in most countries around the world – including our own Director General at COMESA.”

COMESA is Africa’s largest trading block and has played an instrumental role in driving the African Continental Free Trade Agreement that was signed earlier this year.

The Forum is one of Africa biggest gatherings of business and government leaders. Captains of industry, including Abdulsamad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA group in Nigeria, Issad Rebrab, Algeria’s biggest industrialist and Ylias Akbaraly, Francophone Africa’s most successful businessman will share a roundtable with the Heads of State attending the Forum. Their focus will be on driving greater intra-African investment.

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